- Hellworld by Tom Leveen
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-6633-2 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-6635-6 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 8-10
Abby has recently reconnected with Charlie, the hunky son of her mom’s cohost for a paranormal investigation television series. Both hosts and their crew disappeared five years earlier, but the teens now have reason to believe they might find clues in the cave system where their parents were last seen. What they find is grotesque (and oh so lavishly described): the adults are dead but their bodies are still animated, fingers worn away to literal bone as they dig at something deep in the cave. Soon after this awful discovery, hell creatures start swarming out, finally released for reasons that aren’t exactly clear. The choice to alternate narrative focus between then and now impairs the story, because it’s hard to concentrate on crushes, bruised feelings, or even familial grief (Abby’s dad is a depressed mess) when every other chapter is about crazy awful monsters ruining the Earth and destroying humanity. However, both halves manage to be compelling, and while the nervy cliffhanger [End Page 271] ending may exasperate some readers, the inevitable sequel may entice those who seek resolution.